Sunday, December 05, 2004

A recap of important Op-Ed pieces this week on Venezuela

I am running late in coverage considering all that is happening. I wanted to put the previous post on Thursday but this and that happens and time runs when one is having fun. There is one sure thing with Chavez: never a dull moment. So I'll start with a quick hit and run on some Op-Ed, in no particular order of importance except for the last one, the most important.

A ray of light in Ukraine, and darkness in Caracas

So the Ukrainian Supreme Court has ruled that the election has to be redone, and that new safeguards must be installed. Quite a demonstration of people’s power! In Venezuela we are still waiting for the opposition leaders to either pursue their fraud strategy of August 15 or at least have the decency to recognize that Chavez won, even if not fair and square. But AD has remained strangely silent after its October rout and all are letting Primero Justicia defend alone its embattled mayors.

In an excellent Op-Ed, unambiguously titled "Night Falls on Caracas, With No Carter in Sight" Anastasia O’Grady, the woman that apparently understands Venezuela the best North of the Rio Grande, worries about Venezuela, detailing perfectly the creeping repression. She also adds that Carter is to be thanked by Ukrainians with a monument for not coming to Kiev. I quote jus this line:
The parallels between the two recent, fraud-riddled elections are eerie, especially the heavy interference from Soviet-trained heads-of-state in both.[Castro and Putin]

Well, at least for the Wall Street Journal the evidence of electoral fraud in August is now out of question. I wonder if Carter will dig deeper his hole by responding once again to Anastasia. His letter of three months ago looks now quite pathetic in light of what has happened since his crew sloppy job has allowed the installation of the first XXI century autocracy. What a fall from glory for Carter! All his work in the last two decades will have floundered on Caracas. To think that in June I still thought the world of him; but I should have known better, too many cozy meetings with Chavez already.

Elections are coming

To confirm the debacle of electoral objectives, Fausto Maso Saturday in El Nacional is rather pessimist when he titles his OpEd "Ostriches do not win elections". Quite matter of fact he reminds the opposition that in January it must be hitting the streets for the legislative campaign. And that this time they really will have to campaign hard, that they will have no help from local authorities and that Chavez will have even more power for campaign abuse. Thus unless they settle their differences, make a common strategy to annul the unfair electoral system pernicious effects, the chavista majority will go from 51% to 85% and "without opposition Chavez will abuse his power, will approve laws by [just] sending them through Internet". Direst prediction of legislative servility rarely sounded more true.

Pot of gold and financial collapse

As everybody and their brother seem to want to put their hand on Venezuelan oil production (and nothing else, by the way), Gustavo Coronel muses on the impending financial collapse coming to Venezuela. Any observant observer, and forgive the tautology, should wonder how come a government that is receiving zillions of dollars through a quirk of history, who has vanquished, literally, any opposition to its plans, is blithely announcing a devaluation with date and all, even if it was to cancel the date the next day, not the devaluation. That mind game on an 11% devaluation while new bonds are issued can only be interpreted as elevating to State policy insider trading. But management of the economy? After 6 years they still have no idea on how to run the country.

For the record, in February 2003 the rate exchange was fixed at 1600 for the US dollar. Sometime in January it will be fixed at 2150. This is a drop of 34% in TWO years, while supposedly the flow of dollars was controlled. Well, someone seems to be able to take dollars out of the country.

To finish this section on financial mess, I invite you to read Miguel's post on the new mortgage regulations, the purchase of expensive and useless fighter jets and funny bond issues. And then you can wonder why anyone would want to invest in Venezuela.

Anti Semitism in Venezuela?

As if all these news were not already depressing enough, we must add the must-read of Carlos Blanco article "With the Star of David on my Lapel". In this extremely strong and unambiguous article Carlos Blanco withers any possible official explanation to the Hebraica raid a few days ago. I must say, with all responsibility that I was perhaps the first one to mention the "coincidence" of Chavez in Iran and the raid, but such is the advantage of blogging over the press and the media: speed. But if my thoughts then could have seem exaggerated for some, by now it scares me to read that others are way ahead in condemning that raid, a totally useless raid which is still not explained by the authorities. I translate the closing paragraph of Mr. Blanco's article.
That this red light be of use for all of those who fight for freedom; when a Jew is attacked for being such, we enter in a zone of total and absolute risk for the free thinking and existence of all, Jews and non Jews alike. Do not believe the official apologies, they are part of the same set up.

As a reader commented a couple of days ago: Jews are the canary in the social mine.

Long time readers of this blog will surely recall that in addition of the constant violations of basic political rights that I denounce, I have also added such things as the latent homophobia within chavismo. Thus, do not ask me why I agree with Mr. Blanco that all of this was planned: the pattern is here for all to see, or are willing to see.

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